It can be trying, and even stressful, to shop in a grocery store or mall with a small child. Here are some steps that have helped other parents in the same situation:
First, before the shopping trip even begins, plan ahead by explaining the rules.
Say: “Stay close to me.” “Use your quiet voice,” and “No begging for candy or toys.”
Select a secret word or signal that you can both use to get the immediate attention of the other.
Role-play at home about how to act at the store. Agree on the rewards for good behavior. A favorite snack food or a stop at the park are good examples.
Promise to read a story or play a game at home.
It also helps to pack a treat. Bring a nutritious snack, such as raisins, cut-up apples, or nuts.
Bring a storybook. Keep a supply of little action figures or small toys handy. Try bringing a favorite blanket, toy, or book from home.
For a small child, tie a favorite soft toy to the handle of the shopping cart or stroller.
Check your child’s emotions. Is your child too tired or hungry to shop? Are you? If the answer is yes, postpone your trip or find a sitter for your child.
Don’t wait until the end of a tiring day. Go when you and your child are rested.